Chris Johnston from the organization Computers 4 Learning, or C4L, was our Guest Speaker. Chris has been the manager for many years, and he was accompanied by Veronica Doyle, the new manager. We learned about what the organisation does.
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The project began in 1999, when the ANZ Banking Group upgraded their computer systems in branches across Australia. Rotarians collected the superseded machines from Brisbane and the surrounding districts and transported them to the Donations In Kind project (DIK). DIK, an overseas aid program which ships over 40 containers of medical and educational supplies to PNG and the Pacific Islands every year, was then operating at the moth-balled Tennyson Powerhouse. The refurbishment project was initiated by Patrick Eldridge, a Rotarian with a life-long love of computing, and Bill Waterfield, Director of Rotary’s Donations In Kind (DIK) Project.

In 2001, DIK moved to Wacol taking over the old General Store building at the Wolston Park Hospital Complex. Computers 4 Kids had a new home.

In 2003, the management of the project was taken over by the Rotary Club of Nundah. It became obvious that the single greatest limitation to the project was the availability of licensed operating software.

Computers For Kids became a Microsoft Approved Refurbisher in early 2004. This status was achieved after the introduction of a comprehensive raft of procedures to provide cradle to grave asset tracking and major upgrades to quality control procedures.

In August 2004, the project entered a partnership with Aviation High (formerly, The Hendra Secondary College) on Brisbane’s north side. The school made available an area on Campus large enough for our administration, storage and refurbishment workshops. This facility was fitted out and operational in under a fortnight thanks to the donations of several local businesses and many man-hours of volunteer labour.

In early 2006 the project became officially known as The Rotary Club of Nundah Computers 4 Kids Inc. and Computers 4 Kids sponsored two Work For the Dole activities for an initial period of six months. This provided on the job training for 25 people. Several of the participants found employment as a direct result of their involvement in the program.

Unfortunately free PCs are now a thing of the past as a nominal fee must be charged to cover our operating costs, data erasure and the very heavily discounted licensed Microsoft operating system supplied with every refurbished computer. Large corporate donations of IT equipment continues to flow into our system ensuring a constant supply of good quality refurbished computers and our wonderful volunteers continue to make themselves available to support this project.

In 2013 a review of our operations was undertaken and, amongst other things, the new working name of Computers 4 Learning was adopted to better reflect the broader range of eligible recipients.

We also took this opportunity to investigate ways of adding educational value to our services… and, as a result, our complimentary project Teacher in a Box was launched.

Chris told us that they had to move from their previous site and are now located at Victor St., Banyo on the grounds of Earnshaw State College.

He said that they supply between five and six hundred computers a year to people who are eligible to receive them. In order to get a computer, individuals must have a valid pension/ healthcare/ student card and have a letter of support from an appropriate person, organizations include charities, not for profit infants, primary, secondary or TAFE Colleges registered in Australia.

Chris said that it is necessary to charge a small fee (usually $60) for the equipment because they have to first wipe the hard drives using WipeDrive8 and refurbish the computer which is then loaded with appropriate programs.

When refurbishment is complete the computer, together with all associated cables and ancillary equipment, is plastic wrapped and packed so that recipients receive a complete package.

Thanks Chris for giving us an insight to your very valuable organization.
Further information may be obtained by going to:-